More about Ozone: Lisa was smiling till she saw Fred

Photo by Richard Brewer

In the preceding post, the question of why President Obama rebuffed the stronger ozone standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency was left unresolved.  Now we have the answer.

The Kalamazoo Gazette for 2 November 2011 reprinted an article from the Washington Post by Ned Martel. The Gazette reprint was titled Upton Changing for good of GOP? Longtime moderate shedding conciliatory ways at key time for his party.

The topic was the supposed slide to the right by Fred Upton.  Upton, an heir to the Whirlpool fortune, has served as the U. S. Representative from southwestern Michigan since 1987.  He’s had something of a reputation as a moderate since his first campaign in 1986.  In fact, Howard Wolpe, a Democratic icon from Kalamazoo, recounts how he advised Upton in that campaign, the 1986 Republican primary in which Upton beat the conservative incumbent, Mark Siljander.

Maybe Fred has changed his stripes, as Wolpe and others have suggested.  But I’m doubtful; the bulk of Upton’s voting record has always been that of a conservative Republican. Occasional deviations from the Republican party line may well have been sanctioned by the Republican leadership on a few bills where it was clear his vote would make no difference–that is, on issues where the Republicans were already certain to win by a large margin or lose by a large margin.

An alternative interpretation of Fred’s move is that in recent years, with the various changes in Congressional districts and boundaries, Michigan’s 6th Congressional district has so many Republicans he no longer needs votes from the blue sections and can stop pretending.

Whether it’s a real change or just the end of dissimulation means little–except possibly to some of the moderates or liberals who voted for Fred in earlier elections.

This is a long preamble to the crux–the answer to our question.  According to the Martel article, Upton “pushed the president to jettison some tough ozone-reduction plans.”  We learn further that “at a September joint session of Congress, EPA Adminstrator Lisa Jackson caught sight of Upton. ‘She was smiling till she saw me,’ Upton recalled with relish.”

And there we have it.  Fred pushed, Obama jettisoned, and Lisa smiled no more.